Weirdest connected devices from the CES 2016 underbelly (pictures)
The smaller halls of CES 2016 are filled with seemingly normal objects that have been amped up with Bluetooth or an app. Just because you can make an everyday object "smart," doesn't mean you should.
The CES startup zone, known as Eureka Park, has a strong contingent from France this year. Among them is the creators of the colourful Oombrella. The umbrella sends you smartphone alerts if there's bad weather in your area or you leave it behind at a restaurant. It also updates weather information from your area to the cloud in real time.
Bonus points: The smart tech is all hidden inside the handle, but the holographic plastic will still make you look like you're from the future.
Head to the far corners of Tech West and you'll find companies from all over the world peddling their wares from tiny booths -- blink and you'll miss them. This walking stick was one of them. It has GPS, making it ideal for hikers. It also has features like an SOS button that sends an emergency alert to 5 preset numbers that are targeted toward the elderly.
Bonus points: You can make phone calls by using the built-in speaker and mic. Hello McFly!
Certainly one of the weirder products at the show, this diaper sensor from Israeli startup DigiSense takes one of the less pleasant parts of parenting and digitises it. The sensor will give you detailed information on urine volume and colour, bowel movements and bodily gases. It's targeted at hospital use. For parents at home, we think some things are better left unknown.
Bonus points: The sensor can also be used for elderly patients and will measure temperature and respiratory rate.
You know that friend that was always obsessed with the movie "Tron"? It looks like they got a job at Xenoma. Devised by a company spun out of the University of Tokyo, the e-skin connected shirt features sensors that monitor motion, breathing, body temperature and more, all built into a circuit-board design on the fabric. Perfect if you think a smartwatch is just too subtle.
Bonus points: It's machine washable, and Xenoma says its strong enough to wear like a normal shirt.
One of the many smart water bottles on display at CES, the H2OPal uses motion and weight sensors to detect every time you take a drink. Pick up the bottle and take a sip, and the accompanying app will show you just how much you've consumed. You can also set targets for daily water consumption.
Bonus points: There's definitely spin-off potential for some CES visitors in a bottle that measures alcohol consumption!
Do you feel like the fake animal tail you wear everyday is lacking pep? In-Tail has thought of you.
Designed for festival goers and cosplayers, this animatronic tail can be controlled by an accompanying app that makes it wag and move around. The creators are even working on getting it to respond in time to music. It will set you back $499 with the fur tail covers going for between $20-$40. If that's too much (can you really put a price on fashion?) there's an analogue version for $200.
Bonus points (overheard at the booth): "Oh man, Burners are going to love this!" We're not sure if Burning Man cred is a bonus or not.
Also in the running for most ridiculous product name of CES, the Spün (pronounced 'spoon') range of smart cutlery is for those who like to micromanage their nutrition. Image recognition software detects the food you're eating then a built-in weight sensor measures every bite to automatically calculate calorie and nutrition information.
Bonus points: Great for mothers wanting to track their baby's food intake, not so great for CES journos who would rather not think about the junk food they've been eating over the past week.
A Wellness Belt that offers the intriguing tagline, "Better than Belt." It certainly is better than a regular belt if you want to measure changes in your waistline and detect over eating by tracking belt tension. Sensors inside this wearable also measure daily steps and work out when you get up from your desk to move about.
Bonus points: There are different designs available, but we're looking forward to the belt that tightens in advance of your meal as a guilty little reminder.
A connected frying pan for the modern chef, SmartyPans uses weight and temperature sensors and voice controls to provide you with nutritional information about what you're cooking. By entering the ingredients you're using into the accompanying app, the pan will give you feedback on calories and other nutritional data as you cook.
Bonus points: It's dishwasher safe, and you can use the lid as a serving dish. But alas, it's not smart enough to do the cooking for you.